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Horses - Diet and Nutrition/dry lucerne to racehorses


hello ma'am. my trainer used to feed 1/2kg chopped alfalfa legume to all the horses in the morning and evening. suddenly, he switched to chopped alfalfa hay(dry lucerne). may i know the use of dry lucerne to horses? may i know why did he switch to dry lucerne?

Hello Caine,

Thank you for your question.  I'm not entirely sure I understand your use of terminology here...but it appears that you're asking what the difference is between chopped alfalfa grass and dry alfalfa hay?  Alfalfa is a legume, whether its fresh, choppped, fermented (silage) or dry.  From what you're describing, the only difference I can identify is the manner in which the alfalfa was fed.  The only difference between fresh and dry alfalfa is the amount of water in it.  Drying does little to change the structure of the plant aside from removing water.  Alfalfa silage results from fermenting partially dried alfalfa.  Fermenting any forage results in bacterial fermentation of the plant's fibrous structure that makes the forage more easily digested once consumed.  Silage can be safely fed to horses provided it has been properly fermented although we recommend inoculating horses for botulism before feeding silage.

There is no way of saying for sure why your trainer switched to dry alfalfa, aside from the fact that dried forage is easier to store for long periods of time than fresh alfalfa or alfalfa silage.

Thanks, Corlena

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Corlena Patterson


I can help with any of your horse nutrition questions and concerns. I have been involved with horses for closing on 40 years, with a B.Sc in Animal Science and currently working on an M.Sc in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh. I have owned my own feed store, consulted professionally as an equine nutritionist, and lectured in the fields of equine and dairy nutrition at the University level for 5 years. I have developed and currently market 'Ration-X', a ration formulation program for horses...designed for the everyday horse owner. I am happy to help in any way I can.


Experienced in developing and implementing feed programs for horses of all disciplines, creating custom horse supplements and managing inter-disciplinary equine facilities. Specialize in equine nutrition consulting.

The American Society of Equine Appraisers

'Stable Management' Handbook, Equine Canada.

M.Sc (Equine Science-current), B.Sc(Agr) Animal Science, Equine Sports Massage Therapy Certification, Farrier Certification, Equine Consultant Certification, Certified Equine Appraiser, Certified in Emergency Equine Rescue.

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